This is the third in a series of 35 articles I call “The Effective Author”. In my professional writing life, I have been astonished that so much of my “job” is not-the-writing (http://wp.me/pw4HM-pa). So this series is being shared to encourage other writers, who may be frustrated by the huge set of non-writing processes that are necessary for the professional writer.
In yesterday’s article, I began asking whether your writing delights you, and who you want to delight with your writing. I also argued that you don’t have to choose between fiction and nonfiction; many successful writers have published both. I hope you started making notes, or sketching out what came to mind with those questions and examples.
Today I ask you to consider what you want to write about. With your pen poised at your notes, consider this: What are you passionate about? What are the burning issues to you? Love, crime, social justice, politics, interpersonal problem solving, religion/spirituality, humor, leadership? What do you spend most of your time thinking, puzzling, or feeling about? What is most of your conversation about? Is your mind often on some other country or time period, or both? Or are you often thinking about the future and imagineering what it may become? Are you fascinated by lives of the prominent, past or present?
If you are already writing, is it easy and satisfying for you? If so, maybe you are already in your best groove, or one of them. Is your research and writing hard work, but you love that and love the pieces you write? Does your writing take place in the present, but you would really like to see what those characters would do in an earlier era? What writers or writings do you most admire, and what is it about them that fills or fuels you? With your answers to these passion questions sketched out in your notes, take a trip to a large bookstore and start prospecting. What sections are you most drawn to? What authors capture you? In the bookstore, add your reactions to your notes.
William H. Gass said,
The true alchemists do not change lead into gold. They change the world into words.
Guess what? You may have just frameworked your future writing genre/s! But wait! Before you commit firmly—and you need never do that—consider the example of author James Redfield. Never heard of him? No cheating. Don’t look him up yet. Redfield wanted to write about spiritual principles that some would call “New Age”. He wrote a handbook, and a friend recommended that he write it as a novel. So he did. And it is a very exciting adventure novel. Since 1993, over 20 million copies of The Celestine Prophecy have sold worldwide, as well as a number of spinoff books. And here is the possible punchline for you as a writer: James Redfield now gets to live as he wishes, entirely centered in his favorite subject, spiritual living. He gets to do radio, TV, workshops, magazine interviews, and more writings, all because he wrote from his passion, first as nonfiction, and then as fiction. What passion of yours would you like to live as a lifestyle?
See if your notes are now showing some patterns. Consider that your writing will be most likely to excite others—and sell—if it excites you. So draw a line, start a new section of notes, and start brainstorming about kinds of articles/posts/books you might write, in your passion areas. And feel free to write me with any questions. I want you to become a truly Effective Author.
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. Both that book and Peace Within are available through her office. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: email@example.com.